Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora.
Putnam, New York, 2008.
Board book, 24 pages.
This book starts with “Peekaboo! I see…” and then the reader (or their adult helper) must turn the page to find out what. Baby sees Mommy, Daddy, and many other people and things.
I had no idea what to expect when I ordered this book sight unseen. At the time it didn’t occur to me that it could be simply a game of peekaboo. It’s pretty cleverly done though. As baby moves through his morning, he sees his entire family and many other items.
The pages with the repeating text “Peekaboo! I see…” are set off from the others by being visually smaller, with a large white space around the illustration and the text directly below the illustration in the white space. The text is cleverly worked into the illustration of the other pages, but remains typed and clearly readable.
Generally I’m not too into pastels as a medium for illustrating an entire book, but it works well here. Isadora is able to work a lot of detail into each illustration and I was particularly impressed with her ability to show very expressive faces for baby.
The best and most intriguing part of this book is the set up for each peekaboo. Baby is subtly moving through his morning (waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast). More often than not, each illustration includes some nod both toward what will be revealed as well as the previous page. Some of the peekaboos are fairly obvious to the adult reader while others are actually surprising (at least on the first or second read-through).
My absolute favorite part of this, however, is that baby is anchored in a loving nuclear family and caring extended family who are part of his day. He is clearly loved and cherished by his family and nurtured in his home environment. This is exactly the sort of subliminal message I want the kids to be receiving before the outside media and majority white culture is able to negatively impact their developing minds.
The author is intriguing. A white woman who was formerly a ballerina, more than half of her currently in-print books feature children of color. Even this book is part of a series with follow-ups Peekaboo Evening and Uh-Oh. Unfortunately the other books aren’t available as board books – too bad because I would definitely buy them!
Baby likes this book, but won’t yet sit through the whole thing every time. It is the perfect size for him to hold so at the moment he likes to bang it on the floor or against the table. As he gets older I expect it will interest him more. This book is great for babies from about three months up to toddlers but won’t hold much interest for older children.